By Deborah Naylor Kloos
I spent the nineteenth anniversary of 9-11 by Remembering.
I remember the events of that horrifying day as if it were yesterday, much the same as I can vividly recall the day that President Kennedy was shot, and the way my parents remembered the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Recognizing that each generation has spoken the same mantra, “Always remember! Never forget!”, I have gradually realized that Esther must also have shared this same sacred history lesson.
Esther 9 relates that Mordecai “recorded these events…to have (all the Jews) celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month…as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies… when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration”! Even now, Jews worldwide celebrate this very same joyful holiday of Purim, reminding one another: “Always remember. Never forget!”
In reading Esther’s story, we can list so many things that were outside of her control. I feel a strong sisterhood with her as I wrestle with the same helpless feelings brought about by this fearsome pandemic. As I struggle with so much that is clearly beyond my control, I have prayed for guidance and help to move past my circumstances. In Esther’s story, I find an example to follow and an increased awareness of God’s continual presence, provision, and power in my own life. I have reclaimed the grace of being grateful amidst hardship and uncertainty.
I long for the days when we could visit with family and friends without any restrictions! Yet, I’ve become deeply grateful for the simple things such as: the extra quality time my husband and I share; socially-distanced meals shared outdoors with a friend; the ability to text or call someone for reassurance that all is well, or to offer comfort when all is not; “zooming” or actually having safe, outdoor, small meetings with fellow church members or community groups; actually spending time chatting over the fence with neighbors; safely greeting children and families as part of a drive-through “Welcome Back” party at church; sending and receiving actual cards or letters to family, friends, and shut-ins.
Music has always been an integral part of my life, and I desperately miss singing in my adult choir or the other two community choirs to which I belong. Yet, I’m very grateful that God has graciously allowed me to use my gifts by providing opportunities to safely sing as a soloist or in a trio or small ensemble; the creativity required to help plan virtual events for our community choruses; extra time to practice piano and voice; the ability to donate funds for the music education of underprivileged children.
I am broken-hearted about not being able to participate in our church’s ministry to the women’s prison and for other “in person” ministries. But I see God working in fresh new ways, and I’m so thankful: that we can still receive and pray for the prisoners’ heart wrenching prayer requests; for the opportunity to write a Bible study for these women based on Paul’s writings from prison; that our church has continued to provide weekly free meals and other assistance and encouragement to our community.
I’m learning, as never before, the truth of I Thessalonians 5:18, to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. I’m learning that, just like Esther, we can trust that God has a plan. Knowing this, we can choose the grace and peace of being grateful. Experiencing this, we can each celebrate our own Purim every day!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.